Tuesday, July 24, 2012
I had been fortunate to get some time off work this week after seeing the forecast and set my stall to go emperor hunting. On Monday I started early at Alice Holt seeing my first male at 8am - I watched this individual for an hour and quarter resting on an oak sprig. It had flown straight from a mature sallow and it looked as if it had just emerged. It flew off at 9.15 And I continued my journey straits Inclosure revealed very little although others had seen males and two females. I only saw one other in individual ( other than females) not on territory. In all I saw twelve definite individuals with four at Goose Green old car park and two at abbots wood pines. Saw my first female of the year which appeared silently and out of the blue at noon egg laying in a very mature sallow - had a second female at one o'clock. Perhaps the highlight was a female sparrow hawk carrying an unfortunate blackbird past nthe goose green high point - he was immediately seen off the premises by no less than three males who combined forces against this interloper! I am being deliberately non specific about locations in Alice Holt as I encountered yet another collector! After having seen both the forecast and the reports I decided to make the long journey to Fermyn arriving at 7.45 this morning. This was my first visit so after first getting my bearings I set off from the entrance at the gliding club. To cut a long story short the morning surpassed my expectations the Emperors were out in force with some sixteen individuals and probably a dozen groundings including two at once! For obvious reasons I couldn't take a photo but a truck appeared along the ride at this time so - unaware if the local PE population were aware of the highway code - I consulted with the other two chaps and I encouraged one onto each index finger. Once the truck had passed I placed them back on the ground where they appeared to be unfazed by their ordeal - indeed one stayed for a further hour or so. The afternoon was indeed very quiet so we took the opportunity for lunch. One further walk right through the wood between three and half five revealed three or four including one drinking from a puddle but it was indeed much quieter - probably because of the heat. My pedometer revealed Neil and I had walked some 42,000 paces - about 21 miles or so. We saw the last individual at 5.30pm and only one female was encountered. Lovely day on my first visit to this part of the world. I will be back even if it is a three hour drive!